Most of the population in America celebrate Christmas during the 24th and 25th of December. Christmas eve and Christmas day are christian holidays but non-christians celebrate it anyway. Setting up the christmas tree and putting all the decorations on the tree and all over the house (inside and out) took a lot of time and effort. It is worth it because after we finish we go around town to see how our neighbors have decorated their houses. It is never truly dark around christmas from all the christmas lights.
Usually, I visit my moms side of the family for one of the two days and then I go and visit my other half of the family on my dads side for the other day. When I think about christmas I remember all the wonderful foods my grandparents prepared and the fun activities we played. Unwrapping the presents under the christmas tree was the best part. Some years my parents would hang stockings over the fire place and it would be filled with mini presents and chocolates after father christmas came on the 25th.
The Belgium style of Christmas is a little different. The Belgians have two Santa's, but they are not the Santa Claus I know. First, St. Nicolas comes on the 6th of December to place a present in your shoes. If you do not put your shoes near the fireplace before this date, then St. Nicolas does not come. Luckily, my host parents told me about the tradition before hand. I received an advent calendar (calendrier de l'avant) in my converse tennis shoe. Each day following Christmas I get to eat a piece of chocolate from my little calendar with my host sister.
Then, on the night of the 24th, Père Noël comes to deposit all the wrapped gifts under the christmas tree. Its still too early in December for Christmas but I am super excited. I hope it snows because it hasn't yet and its already the 14th of December!
In my opinion the Belgian Christmas tradition is better because there is not only one santa but two. The only flaw with the Belgium Christmas is the lack of enthusiasm for decorating the exterior of ones house with colorful lights and objects (the American style of Christmas).